MANILA – A lawmaker on Thursday sought to enhance the budget allocation for the Commission on Audit (COA) for next year to better perform its role as a guardian of public funds.
During the budget deliberation of the House Committee on Appropriations on COA's PHP13.360-billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel pointed out a "downward trend" in the overall budget of the commission in recent years, noting that next year's proposed budget is lower than the 2022 and 2023 budgets of PHP14 billion and PHP13.5 billion, respectively.
Manuel said he supports an increase in the budget of COA next year so that it could ensure that the government's funds are used properly and for their intended purposes.
"Yung role ninyo po ay sobrang mahalaga para matiyak ang maayos na paggamit ng pera ng bayan (Your role is important to ensure the proper utilization of public funds)," Manuel said. "We would really support na mataasan ang budget ng COA, given na maraming mga dapat talagang i-audit pa na mga items sa ating national budget (We would really support a bigger budget for COA given that there are several items in our national budget that need to be audited)."
Committee Senior Vice Chair Stella Quimbo, meanwhile, said COA serves as “a custodian of our nation's financial health through its vigilant oversight."
"We can secure our economic future, fortify our institution and ensure that our resources are utilized for the betterment of all Filipinos," Quimbo said.
COA Assistant Commissioner for Finance Nilda Plaras presented the COA's proposed budget under the government's national expenditure program for 2024, showing a decrease of PHP42.494 million from COA's allocation for FY 2023.
Of the PHP13.360 billion proposed budget for 2024, PHP12.543 billion would be allocated to personnel services, PHP781.971 million to maintenance and other operating expenses, and PHP841.132 million to capital outlay. (PNA)